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    Saturday, October 31, 2009

    Pumpkin and Ginger Soup - Eureka I've Done It

    I have revamped the Pumpkin and Ginger Soup

    As much as I like "Granny Dunn’s Ginger Marmalade" (bought at the Hamilton Farmers Market) it is a bit lacking in the Ginger flavour.
    So I decided to remake the soup with a true Ginger Marmalade
    ("Roses", Bought from the Supermarket) mixed with Dear Old Granny’s
    Eureka it worked.
    The ginger flavour comes through, the sweet but bitter Granny’s marmalade and the heat of the chili flakes just hitting you on the back of the throat. (Getting more like MasterChef every day!!!)
    I really like it.

    So here we go again
    n.b. If you have the time or the inclination to make your own chicken stock, DO. It’s worth it.
    I am using Ina Garten’s recipe click here

    Makes plenty.

    1.5 kgs pumpkin cut in chunks
    1 large onion cut into quarter
    Olive oil
    1 tablespoon Roses Ginger Marmalade
    1 tablespoon Granny Dunns or any good bitter marmalade
    1 tsp chili flakes
    sea salt and pepper
    1 litre chicken stock

    Chives to garnish

    So I roasted the pumpkin (skin on) with the onion,
    All tossed in a little olive oil with some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
    Remove from oven
    Peel and chop cooked pumpkin and onion.

    Into a large pot
    Add 1 tbs olive oil
    Add pumpkin and onion
    Season salt pepper and chili flakes

    Toss around so everything is well covered with the oil
    Add marmalade
    Toss and cook to carmelise a little
    Add chicken stock

    Top with water so the vegetables are covered.

    Cook for about 30 minutes till vegetables can be pureed
    Into blender
    Serve with chopped chive to garnish.

    Speaking of the fabulous Mrs Garten
    Today is Family Sunday Lunch
    This time at Karen and Steve's house.
    I have cooked the Asparagus.

    I have pinched her idea and also was inspired by James Neeson from "Alive and Cooking" TV programme. He uses these homemade infused oils.

    Couldn't get much simpler than this.
    Parmesan Infused Oil

    In a pot, heat some olive oil ( about 300 mls) with the rind of a block of Parmesan
    Just very gently over low heat.
    About 5 minutes
    Turn off and leave to infuse for a few hours
    Strain and into a bottle

    The same with Lemon Infused Oil
    Peel the zest of 3 lemons in strips
    Add to a pot of good olive oil
    Once again gently heat about 5 minutes
    Turn off and let infuse
    This time keep the zest in the bottle, it will keep on infusing as it sits.

    Roasted Asparagus in Lemon and Parmesan Oil

    Take the woody ends off the Asparagus
    Toss in oil of choice
    Lay out in single layer on a roasting pan.
    Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Cook in 200C oven about 15 -20 minutes till tender

    Remove from oven.

    Good at room temperature
    I did some in Parmesan Oil and some in Lemon Oil
    and garnished appropriately.
    Really So so simple.

    Thursday, October 29, 2009

    Fish Pie and a Celebration of 90 years of a Wonderful Life - Fun in Hamilton

    We have been very privileged to be invited to our friend Max’s 90th birthday.
    An excellent party. Thanks Max.
    If we could be as good as him, when we are even 70... I will be forever grateful.
    Max lives in Hamilton, not normally known as the hub of the Western Cultural World, but nevertheless a very lush beautiful area.
    The man himself, below, with speech of the day, we were lucky enough to get one of Max’s corny jokes.
    His specialty…
    Thank God they didn’t do 90 candles on the cake
    Could have been a major .
    We stayed in Rural Hamilton , Debbie is surrounded by beauty.
    Only minutes from the City.
    Rocky the Dog always alert.
    An elderly Cat,
    Peanut, The Ancient Goat, 13 goat years, 91 Human years...He's older than Max
    Elderly chickens…its all Lifestyle Farmer here.
    The weather was beautiful, time for gardening,
    As we sat and watched, wine in hand, Debbie and David attacked the lawns, hedges and weeds.
    With enthusiastic support from Dale, (hands in pockets!)
    It’s a never-ending story on a lifestyle block. As lovely as it is though, I am glad I just have a courtyard in Parnell.

    Sunday dawned, yet another sunny day, Debbie and I went to the Farmers Market.
    It was a fabulous market. It’s run like an English market. You must be a licensed grower to sell your produce.
    And beautiful produce it was. I managed to spend $100 in just under half an hour.

    Beautiful Steak from Wholly Cow, freshly caught scallops,
    And from the wonderfully named Soggy Bottom Holding, an excellent Pork Pie,
    Hard to find a good pork pie.
    I want to make one…see if I can do as well as these people.
    A project for me next week perhaps.
    That Soggy Bottom man also made very tasty sausages. Bought those as well.

    Fabulous orange flesh pumpkin, Only $2 for a huge piece.

    Marmalade, gluten free lavender shortbread, which was delicious.
    A gift for our friend John.

    So well laden, we came home.
    First meal. Pumpkin Soup
    I thought it would be a good idea to use the Ginger Marmalade in the soup.
    Orange and ginger both goes well with Pumpkin... The Marmalade was lovely and added and interesting background bitter taste. Unfortunately there wasn't enough ginger in it so I compensated and added some grated fresh ginger at the end.
    Pumpkin and Ginger Soup

    1 kg pumpkin cut in chunks
    1 large onion cut into quarter
    Olive oil
    2 tbs ginger marmalade
    1 tsp chili flakes
    sea salt and pepper
    1 litre chicken stock
    1 tbs grated fresh ginger

    Chives to garnish

    So I roasted the pumpkin (skin on) with the onion,
    All tossed in a little olive oil with some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
    Remove from oven
    Peel and chop cooked pumpkin and onion.

    Into a large pot
    Add 1 tbs olive oil
    Add pumpkin and onion
    Season salt pepper and chili flakes

    Toss around so everything is well covered with the oil
    Add marmalade
    Mix again and cook to carmelise a little
    Add chicken stock

    Top with water so the vegetables are covered.

    Cook for about 30 minutes till vegetables can be pureed

    Into blender
    Serve with chopped chive to garnish.

    Of course there was left overs and here is a recipe to use up your leftover soup.

    White Fish and White Bean Pie
    Gluten Free version
    For 8 people

    8 large potatoes
    100 gms butter
    200 mls (approx) hot milk
    1 egg beaten

    800 gms fresh white fish
    2 tablespoons Olive oil
    sea salt and pepper
    White wine

    1 tin cannellini beans drained and rinsed

    500 mls pumpkin soup
    300 mls cream

    Frozen spinach 100 gms (thawed)

    Peel and cut potatoes into small pieces
    Boil in salted water till tender
    Drain well and mash with butter and hot milk
    Test seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if necessary

    Add beaten egg and set aside.

    Meanwhile season fish and gently sauté in olive oil in a medium pan

    Cook about 2 minutes one side
    turn over add wine turn heat up till wine is bubbling
    Cover and remove from heat and leave about 2 minutes
    (You may have to do this in two batches)

    Remove fish from pan and break into large pieces

    Place into gratin dish
    Add beans
    Spread spinach over the top
    Bring the juices to the boil and then add the cream.
    Simmer till reduced by 25%
    Add soup mixture to the cream
    Stir till combined
    Pour over fish mixture
    Let cool and then spoon over mashed potato
    Fork up for ridges
    Bake 30 minutes 190C

    You could serve with a salad. and some crunchy bread or just have it on it's own.

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Gladstone Road Parnell Take Out - Bring Home -Perfect

    There is always those nights when you can't be bothered to cook.
    That doesn't happen to me a lot as I love to cook, but sometimes I want someone to cook for me.
    Just a 2 minutes trip in the car and I am at the Gladstone Road shopping centre.

    We are blessed with John the Butcher, John The Greengrocer/Deli,
    John the Wine Shop, a neat little convenience store,
    Catch a Fish Takeaways and the Lady Pharmacists.
    Can't get much better than that.
    We dined like Kings.

    Fresh Snapper and Golden Chips.
    Crisp batter, fish so fresh, nice fat chips. Yum
    Next down to John The Greengrocer/Deli.
    Beautiful strawberries...have to have some of those.
    Look in his freezer. Oh My God Omaha Beach Organic Berry Ice Cream...Strawberry no less.
    Into the Convenience Store
    They had on the counter. Honey from Warkworth.
    Strawberry Honey. Yes! dessert!
    It was a marvelous meal. Thank God for Local Produce and our Local Shops.

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    Asparagus and Tomato Again

    Asparagus and Tomato Again
    One thing we missed up in The Island was fresh Asparagus.
    Couldn’t wait to eat some. Of course I just love it paired with Tomatoes
    You must use fresh tomatoes for these dishes.
    It’s important to just warm the tomatoes, it enhances the fresh Tomato taste.
    So for the first meal at home.

    Two dishes same ingredients, different tastes –excellent
    For this version of Tortilla… You need to use a pan that will go into the oven
    You can cook on top of the stove but I love the oven method…very simple,

    Tortilla with Warm Asparagus and Tomato Salad

    Heat oven to 190C

    2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
    6 eggs
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    3 tablespoon Olive oil

    Cook the potatoes in boiling water till just folk tender

    Beat eggs in bowl with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Place oil in pan heat gently
    Add cooked potatoes and toss around just to coat with the oil

    Remove potatoes and add to egg mix
    Meanwhile crank the heat up in the pan
    Return egg and potato mix to the pan

    Cook for about a minute till it start to bubble around the edges

    Immediately place in hot oven and cook for about 6 minutes

    Remove and slide onto a plate and cut into wedges.
    1 bunch asparagus
    2 med tomatoes
    1 tablespoon butter
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Juice half lemon

    Cook the asparagus and chop into 3 cm pieces
    Chop tomatoes into 8

    Heat the butter gently till it just bubbles
    Add tomatoes, toss around
    Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Add asparagus toss around again for about a minute

    Squeeze in the lemon juice
    A couple of pieces of fresh baguette and
    Hey Presto
    Lunch is served

    Asparagus and Tomato Bake with Crunchy Potato.

    This is another use for the Asparagus and Tomato bake that I cooked and posted a couple of weeks ago.

    1 bunch cooked asparagus cut into pieces

    2 tablespoon unsalted butter
    2 medium tomatoes chopped
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    11/2 tablespoons flour
    1/2 cup milk

    Squeeze of lemon juice just to heighten the flavours

    2 large potatoes peeled cut into quarters and cooked till tender
    2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

    Melt butter in pot
    Add tomatoes
    Mix around till well coated
    Add flour and season
    Cook for about 3 minutes making sure the flour taste in cooked out

    Add milk and cook till thickened
    Add asparagus and pour into a gratin dish

    Meanwhile, mash the potatoes with the olive oil and spoon on top of the bake.

    Fork it up this will help the crunch

    Bake in hot oven 25 minutes

    We greedily ate the lot…I am never going to get slim
    Loved that crunchy topping

    Sunday, October 18, 2009

    Three Tastes of Rarotonga - Crown Resort - Kathy's House and Villa Onemaru

    Kia Orana
    Welcome To Beautiful Rarotonga.
    Every plane that arrives and leaves, is serenaded by Kathy's Dad.
    (Kathy is our host for the major part of our stay).
    He has been welcoming visitors to Rarotonga for years.
    Our first visit was in the 80's and we have continued to visit and still love it.
    Our last visit was full of adventures with Heinzie, Ms Mary and Ms Lana, click here to find out more.
    We have just spent 10 days in The Island. Every time we visit we discover new treats.
    This time we experienced three different but equally wonderful accommodations.
    Thanks to our friends, John and Hiria Morton, we had our first two nights at The Crown Resort. A delightful upmarket resort. We arrived at 2am, an awkward hour, a charming concierge greeted us, a simple registration...

    and a ride in the golf cart to our suite.
    Pulled up outside, a rather impressive entrance
    What a lovely room.
    Not only that we had our own private pool. This was our view on awakening.
    This will do.
    Looking back into the room. As you see we have spread our possessions around.
    Doesn't take long.
    Classy bathroom
    Off to explore... our entry, in the light of day.
    Tropical paradise.
    I went to breakfast. They serve a complimentary fruit, toast and pastry breakfast.
    Papaya, what a lovely way to start a day. Plus who could resist this view.
    So after 2 nights, it was off to Kathy's House.
    Set in the hills in Titikaveka.
    Our instructions were to turn left at the Mission House, past the Pineapple Plantation
    and continue up the hill. There it is.Nice sweeping decks
    The Master Suite, complete with ensuiteStanding in the dining room looking out at the wonderful view
    Looking out to the poolYours truly, getting ready to pour the first wine.The gentle sound of the surf in the distance. No traffic noise. PeaceAll around us, tropical bush
    Just what the Doctor ordered.
    This is a perfect place for a family holiday.
    Three big double bedrooms, an enormous living area.
    A downstairs family room, which can be set up for kids accommodation.

    Two TVs and DVD players. Two areas for dining outside and a big dining room table inside
    So the next day the troops arrived. Chris, Katie, Mia, Cleo and Joseph.
    Chris, so as not to disturb the Grandparents, took the kids down the road to the beach.
    By the way the first, and as it turns out, the only walk by the kids to the beach.

    Down the Hill

    A wander past our Waste Disposal Unit.

    First day of fun for the kidsThen the walk back up the hill. Not too hard
    Wait for me!
    Into the poolSo after 7 fabulous days we farewelled the family. Dale was on chauffeur duty.

    One of the highlights of a Rarotongan journey ,is to watch the planes coming in.
    They come right in over your heads. I defy you not to duck.

    Some people, (namely, some male members of the family), make this an evening event... apparently after a couple bottles of wine, sitting underneath the plane is... "Amazing".
    One just waits here on the road
    Here it comes, you can see how close to the sea it is.Wow the noise is intense. At night of course, you only see the lights coming, then the noise. Fun.So the plane that was taking Katie, Chris, Mia and Cleo home, was delivering Dan, Helen and Sophia. Joseph was very excited to see his parents and even his older sister Sophia.
    So Accomodation Number Three
    Villa Onemaru. What a stunning place to stay.
    Lovely outdoor bed for the Afternoon Nap.
    Plenty of loungers for Sun BabiesSomewhere to put your glass of wine...could be doing one's blog here.The blue elephant, one of a pair, seen here cavorting in the pool at Kathy's house
    (Unfortunately one of the elephants flew off to Elephant Heaven),
    now has a new homeStill keeping Joseph happy though.So it was our final night. Drinks prepared by Dale
    Had Ika Mata, prepared by Dan.
    In fact, we have decided the Ika Mata produced by our family, Rocks...
    Below Chris' version.
    Both Work
    There is a pool table, table tennis table and this Chess set...plenty to amuse both the Children and The Grownups.
    Well of course, there is the food from Raro, but that is another blog
    A Beautiful Place in the Sun.